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To ask how to overcome this sense of shame?

(64 Posts)
everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 13:29:22

I feel I've acted immaturely and shamefully and I don't know how to overcome this in order to build a successful future.
I went to university in my home town and lived with my parents as was shy and suffered low self esteem and did not not really have the inclination to engage in 'normal' university life of living away from home etc. I then got my first ever job a few years ago but still suffered dreadfully from low self esteem. If I'm being honest, the group of 'friends' I was with at school are to be brutally honest imo emotionally immature, shrinking violets also and I feel their reactions to me and their general influence has always dented my self esteem. In order to cope with my social awkwardness I admit I told my colleagues, during the course of working in my first ever job some serious lies - along the lines of -that my best friend died at the beginning of 2018. This is totally untrue. The reason I said this was that I was caught in a difficult situation and due to my low self esteem couldn't cope with it so had to explain the situation away.
Just for completion's sake - they don't know my friendship circle so the 'lie' as it were wouldn't affect anyone in the office directly. Also, I said that while I was at uni I had a daughter and that she's now living with her father. This is also completely untrue. I suspect some people saw through this but I don't know exactly - but also I feel they must have gossiped about me as some people in that office were toxic gossips. I dread to think what they said. I now work in a different department so I'm not with these people at all any more.
I'm deeply ashamed of these lies and as a result I have been overeating and piling on the pounds. Realistically, I know I can't change the past but I want the future to be as constructive as possible and not waste my life.
I'm also worried that if I ever look for another job in the same field - it may be a small pool of people and I'll be rejected automatically for being a compulsive liar as rumour will get around.
Does anyone have any advice?

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 13:47:20


Lockheart Sat 23-May-20 13:50:22

Hi OP, given what you've written I think you need to seek professional counselling. Unfortunately AIBU can be a bit of a bear pit and I'm not sure you'll get the most helpful replies on here...

Best of luck!

ElectricTonight Sat 23-May-20 13:52:52

Sorry I have no advice other than I think you should seek some counselling, those aren't little white lies they are quite huge lies in which the one about you having a child and lives with their father is just shocking to me because it gives people more to judge you on I don't really understand what you get out of it? What do you get out of it and how does it make you feel any better at the time?

rosecreakybex Sat 23-May-20 13:52:52

You poor thing. Maybe not in the current climate but when you can, look for a new job. And get some counselling to identify why you do this else the problem will just follow you.

It's hard but I don't think we should allow our pasts to define our futures. Plenty of shy, inexperienced, anxious people have extremely fulfilled lives with good friends and wonderful experiences. You're young - start building the life you want xxx

CrazyTimesAreOccurring Sat 23-May-20 13:55:18

You dont have to talk about personal things at work or anywhere. Just shut down any personal questions that you are asked in future.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:01:18

ElectricTonight - the reason I said it at the time was I supposed I felt very down - I'd ballooned to being obese and uncomfortable and just felt lonely and in an emotional rut.

RuffleCrow Sat 23-May-20 14:01:43

Get some counselling. MN is unlikely to help you. I think we cope with low self esteem in different ways and you need some counselling specifically around the lying.

UrsulaBirkin Sat 23-May-20 14:02:55

Oh dear I really feel for you. I went through a phase of telling ridiculous lies when I was in my mid to late teens - completely related to terrible low self esteem and the after effects of bullying I still feel guilty about these lies and disapprove strongly of my behaviour - but I have moved on and forgiven myself and you need to as well. I'm not in contact with the people involved in the worst of my lies which enabled me to move on.

Is it absolutely necessary that you work with the same group of people? A fresh start with new people would be better. Even if they forgive or have sympathy for you - they may not be able to think of you without the lies in your past.

Also, it really is important to understand why you lied and what triggers it, as this will help you to not make the same mistake in the future when you feel vulnerable. It can be a hard habit to break.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:06:38

rosecreakybex - thank you I appreciate your encouragement. Just to let you know I don't work with these people any more - in a different department. Do you still think in the circumstances I need to get a new job?

WeaselKnickers Sat 23-May-20 14:09:17

Colleagues with normal levels of empathy who discover the truth are likely to see that you are troubled and struggling with some aspects of life, and cut you some slack. By your own admission you are troubled and struggling - there are people who can help you overcome that, but you're not very likely to find them here.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:10:01

That's good advice CrazyTimesAreOccurring - I wish I'd taken that on board years ago.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:13:33

UrsulaBirkin - thank you that's an insightful post. I work in a different department - have done for the past year so now I don't work with these people at all. I worry though about getting a job in a 'small pool' iyswim once this job ends in case things have spread on the rumour mill.
The other thing is - I have no way of knowing if they DEFINITELY knew I was lying ..or not

rosecreakybex Sat 23-May-20 14:15:17

Unless it's a huge company with no crossover then yes I think a new job would be best... anxiety can be crippling... you want to move on fully. But like I say, deal with the problem because you could move jobs and find another lie slipping out and being back to square one

Yogamad38 Sat 23-May-20 14:17:42

Bless you, you sound so down, I really feel for you. I think you would really benefit from some counselling to explore why you told the lies and to work on your self esteem. The past is in the past, try and draw a line under it and move forward x

Figgygal Sat 23-May-20 14:22:01

Agree with the counselling suggestions
They are awful lies to tell
I’d also move jobs ASAP before you’re found out because the fall out will be terrible

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:26:25

WeaselKnickers - that's the thing - you are 100% correct.I think people did cut me some slack. The day after I told one particular lie - the first thing one of the managers did was offer to get me a coffee from the local Costa - I noted she didn't ask anyone else (open plan office). Thing is I'm still worried about potential future employment iyswim

Puffalicious Sat 23-May-20 14:28:15

As PP have said, you need counselling- these are massive lies that could, potentially, follow you around. I cannot comprehend why if you were lonely and emotional you would say these things- a need for attention? Even so, telling people such huge lies is just getting negative attention.

Noone can help you here- please speak to someone. Don't blame friends either- that's totally unfair, own your errors.

SnuggyBuggy Sat 23-May-20 14:30:06

I agree seek some counselling. People in general are more forgiving of this type of behaviour when the person is actively trying to work on it.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:40:27

rosecreakybex - just to say that no - the company is not huge. I've worked in a completely different department in a different building from the others who I told these lies to. I never see the people I lied to. Just to give the full picture - I've worked in this new part of the company for a year now - I've NEVER lied. When a new colleague asked if I lived with someone I said no - and definitely no mention of hypothetical partners, children or any other hypothetical situation. This has been for a year with my new colleagues so I've felt no compulsion to tell any lies.

biglouis Sat 23-May-20 14:40:36

As some posters have stated you need to seek professional counselling to get to the root of why you feel obliged to tell porkies about yourself. They may refer you on for CBT or some other therepy.

I once had to arrange a transfer for a member of my junior staff who had got herself into an untenable situation (of a different kind) with her workmates. My advice to her was to be polite and civil to her new fellow workers but to keep herself to herself so far as the personal matters were concerned. Concentrate on doing the best job you can both as an individual and as a member of the team, but don't become too involved or reveal too much information about yourself until you feel comfortable. Being a good listener can also help others appreciate you as a companion.

notalwaysalondoner Sat 23-May-20 14:44:54

I would consider getting a new job especially if you don’t know for sure they know you were lying. But don’t consider getting one until you’ve got counselling in place as you don’t want to just repeat the same self destructive cycle.

I’d also consider slowly going no contact with your school friends - sounds like you have nothing in common any more and they drag you down and make you remember a time you were unhappy. It’s sad but people grow apart - I have nothing in common with some university friends now and only see them at weddings etc (despite some of them wanting to keep in contact more often). But try and build a new network via work, hobbies etc.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:49:51

Figgygal - thing is I now work in a building in a different department where I see no one I lied to before. Do you still think I should move? In terms of the fallout - I think there is virtually no chance this will happen as the people who I lied to know absolutely no-one in my social circle so they've got no real way of verifying.

everybodysstarryeyed Sat 23-May-20 14:53:03

Figgygal - I have thought of fall out - and if I admit to someone I don't actually have a daughter - and someone did say "I thought you said you had a daughter..." - I could always respond with something along the lines of:
"sorry if I confused anyone - - I didn't mean my own birth daughter - she was my boyfriends' daughter from a previous relationship and I don't see him anymore".
They may not buy this, but even if they didn't buy it, I don't see how they could 'take it further' if you see what I mean....

Now, I know this isn't moral and in an ideal world it wouldn't happen - but I'm just trying to find the most pragmatic ways to move forwards....

Cam2020 Sat 23-May-20 14:56:03

OP, you've admitted your problem and that's the first, big step. You also feel ashamed, which shows you're a good person. Can you seek some counselling? If that's not possible I'm sure there will be some resources online worth look at? You haven't lied to hurt anyone else, just as, a coping mechanism for your low self esteem. If its any consolation, there was a girl at school who told some right whoppers and she was still very well liked.

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